Lake Tarawera - Fotolia.jpg

The government announced funding yesterday for freshwater improvement projects totalling $44M, with over $8M of that going to projects in the Bay of Plenty region.

The grants are the first tranche of funding from the $100M Freshwater Improvement Fund announced last year and were made following a bidding process for the fund which opened on 23 February, closed on 13 April, and was then assessed by an independent panel in May with recommendations made to the Minister for the Environment in July.

Within the Bay of Plenty the projects to receive funding are:

  • The Rangitāiki River Wetland Restoration Project

    The Bay of Plenty Regional Council will receive $1.5M (out of an estimated $3M cost) to restore 206ha of wetlands across six high-value ecological sites. Located in the Rangitāiki River catchment, between Murupara and the lower limit of Lake Aniwaniwa (Aniwhenua Dam), this project will establish long-term management plans, install fencing to exclude stock, and inlcide removal of pest plants and animals and native riparian planting.

  • The Katikati Hills to the Ocean - H20 Improvement Project

    This project by the Uretara Estuary Managers Incorporated will receive $250,000 out of an estimated total cost of $500,000. Increasing urban development and intensification of horticulture and farming are accelerating stream bank erosion, sedimentation rates and stream pollution events. This project is focused on four streams within the catchment and builds on previous work undertaken by the group. Interventions include fencing, riparian planting, fish passage and wetland construction and pest control. A citizen science monitoring component is also included.

  • Lake Tarawera Sewerage Reticulation and Treatment

    A reticulated sewerage system, undertaken by the Rotorua Lakes Council and connecting to wastewater treatment, is proposed to remove 15 per cent of manageable inputs into Lake Tarawera which is facing the risk of an irreversible deterioration from high clarity through “flipping” into an algae-dominated state. The final design is subject to further investigation and community consultation. This project receives the largest contribution with $6.5M of an estimated $17.8M being contributed.

With over $8M being allocated to the Bay of Plenty, it has been the largest recipient of funding in this round.

Vanessa Hamm is a partner at Holland Beckett specialising in resource management, local government, and public works matters.